Update: More Information on the US-Bound Emirates Flight with Security Threat

Written by Charlie

Here is more information as the police confirmed the individual that had sparked the security threat which caused the Emirates flight to return to Athens.

Earlier today, I wrote about the security threat that had been identified on the Emirates flight from Athens to Newark. Now, more information is known about the person that was of interest to US intelligence officials.

New Information About Emirates Security Threat

To read more about the original story, read this post. To sum up, it was the Emirates flights from Athens to Newark (EK209) and the Emirates flight from Athens to Dubai (EK210). The US sent security information through the US Embassy in Athens and relayed to the Greek authorities. At this, the flight bound for the US was ordered to return and was escorted by Greek F-16 fighter jets and finally left after hours of investigations.

According to Greek police and new media reports, the person of interest that had flagged with US intelligence agencies was a Turkish citizen who had been living in Greece for the last number of years. The US sent the information not knowing if he would be flying from Athens to Dubai or to Newark but that he was departing on an Emirates flight.

Earlier reports said that it was a person who was alleged to have been involved in other suspicious activities. This person was not known to the public this morning but police are now saying it is someone who has lived in Greece for a number of years and is a Turkish citizen.

As someone who has spent a lot of time in Greece, I find it both concerning and yet unsurprising that someone who was on some kind of a list in the US had been living in Greece all this time without raising any flags here. Given the large number of individuals who had come to Greece from the Middle East and Central Asia over the last few years, there were many people who had entered and not been flagged until some time later (according to police).

I am sure that Greek police now are investigating this situation more now that they have this information. But, both Emirates flights had departed again and were declared safe. Obviously, the US felt it was not a safe situation to allow this individual to land in the US which was the reason that Greece had the plane return to Athens. Unless this person purchased a ticket at the last minute, I am not sure why the individual was not flagged earlier when the manifests were shared with US authorities. But, even purchasing a ticket at the last minute is enough to get you flagged for extra security screening.

So, this will likely be all we ever know about this situation! But, at least we know now that it was someone living in Greece for years and that they had found whom they were searching for.

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About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.


  • Could be a Turkish citizen with Greek residency who is involved in sanctions runarounds via Dubai. Sanctions-busting and related money-laundering also gets classified as a security threat.

    Based on what was mentioned above and stuff about the flight being turned away from France and Italy, seems like the station desk at the embassy in Athens got the Greek authorities on board while the station desk’s colleagues elsewhere in Europe were doing the same.

    Would be interesting to know if the “suspect” loses their Greek residency. Also would be interesting to know if this is a Turkish national of Greek ethnicity.

  • I’m glad the situation was
    resolved peacefully. I was
    on the taxiway at JFK enroute
    to Athens for the marathon
    on Sunday when the news
    broke. I doubt any of the crew
    was aware what happened.

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